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Sanborn High's Stack Named Principal of Year

Washington DC visit offers opportunity for discussion on education

Brian Stack, principal at Sanborn Regional High School Photo by Tim Jean/Eagle-Tribune
Brian Stack, principal at Sanborn Regional High School, was voted principal of the year for New Hampshire.

By Amanda Getchell

KINGSTON — Third time’s the charm is how the old saying goes, and it holds true for Sanborn Regional High School Principal Brian Stack.

The New Hampshire Association of School Principals announced in January that Stack, who was nominated by the group three times overall, had won the Charles A. Napoli Award for being New Hampshire’s principal of the year for secondary schools.

Stack, 38, of Plaistow, has watched the success of Sanborn grow over time. He started his career at Sanborn in 2010 as assistant principal and became the principal in 2013.

Hundreds of principals across the state were in the running, according to Stack, and could be nominated by anyone. Stack wrote a series of essays for the competition and groups of 30 to 40 people visited Sanborn to talk to students, teachers, and community members. Two ceremonies were held, one in the winter and one in the fall, and the National Association held their ceremony over the summer.

Stack, an alumnus of Boston University and an education master’s program at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and the other 50 recipients from around the country spent three days in Washington D.C. the last week of September for the principal’s institute where U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos presents each recipient with an award.

Principals across the nation were encouraged to meet with their state senators and representatives. Stack was able to meet with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, and Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH.

“It’s more so that we can try to lobby for some of the things we think are important with public education and get a good handle on who we are and how we could maybe work with their office,” said Stack.

Stack believes that the spotlight is not solely on him, but that this is a reflection on the entire Sanborn school system.

“It’s very humbling,” said Stack. “I’m able to represent all of the work that so many teachers, students, and community members are doing for the school itself. It’s not just me.”

This award comes along with another of Stack’s most recent accomplishments — his first book, released Sept. 27 and co-authored by former elementary school principal from Sanborn Jonathan Vander Els. The book is titled “Breaking with Tradition: The Shift to Competency-Based Learning in PLC’s at Work.”

The duo’s book discusses stories from various schools across the country and the collaborative team-building strategies that Competency-Based Learning offers.

“It’s about thinking differently,” said Stack. “We have a story to tell, because if we don’t to tell it, then who will?”

To Stack, the award is an honor and a representation of a collaborative effort to put the students first.

“The reason I love what I do is because we have a great staff and we have great students,” said Stack. “I really want to foster students having a voice and teachers being empowered to make decisions and my job is to support, cheerlead and promote.”